For 2024, London-based timepiece maker Mr. Jones Watches has finally released a larger version of one of the quirky brand’s most interesting watch collaborations. Previously available only in a smaller 37mm-wide form, the “robots playing pinball” Ricochet watch, designed for Mr. Jones Watches by artist and academic Ryan Claytor, now comes in an upgraded and larger 45mm wide Ricochet XL form that I review here.

As “art on the wrist,” this timepiece is a beautiful composition, as well as a nod to a particular facet of fandom culture. As a timepiece, it has some limitations, but for the price and “wow value,” this is a very fun watch to wear. Mr. Jones Watches specializes in collaboration products in which the British company can print unique timepiece dials in-house while using its standard cases and the available movements. Accordingly, Claytor designed the Ricochet (and later Ricochet XL) dials, and they are printed by Mr. Jones Watches using an interesting gold-leaf foiling technique. The result is vivid, bright, and very visually compelling.

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Ryan Claytor is a professor and a comic book artist living in the United States. One of his passions is analog electronic (often coin-operated) gaming machines, the most famous of which are pinball machines. Claytor even created a comic called “Coin-Op Carnival,” which purports to tell the history of pinball machines. I’d actually really like to check one out. For the Ricochet XL, he created an expanded dial, that, due to its larger size, includes a whole new robot character on the right side of the dial. There are also some other small differences, such as the background color, which has been changed from an aquamarine blue to a lavender purple.

Each of the robots is “gilded” with a different color of gold or palladium foil creating an attractive metallic effect that also happens to be a bit glitzy — which suits something like a wristwatch very well. But don’t worry; this isn’t a flashy watch so much as it attracts lots of visual attention. I think most people will really admire the way the Ricochet XL dial looks. The XL case from Mr. Jones Watches is 45mm wide and about 13mm thick, with a lug-to-lug distance of about 53mm. The case is water-resistant to 50 meters without a screw-down crown, and over the dial is a flat sapphire crystal. The XL case is, indeed, large, but it wears about as compact as can be and is suitable on my smaller wrist. One upgrade the Ricochet XL has over the original model (that is still produced and is markedly less expensive) is the use of a sapphire crystal (whereas the 37mm wide Ricochet model has a mineral crystal and a different case design, too).

The rear of the watch has some pleasant artwork, where Claytor gave himself a whimsical robot-esque name of “Ryanator Claytorbot.” That sounds like a strange remark in an era in which artificial intelligence can be asked to make art, but this design was created before generative AI graphics. How do you tell the time on the Ricochet XL dial? Like the Ricochet before it, time is told by looking at the backstop screen of the pinball machine on the dial and reading the time “digitally.” Indeed, this is a mechanical watch, but rather than hands, the automatic movement moves two discs to indicate the hours and minutes respectively. The hour disc is “jumping,” which means that rather than moving gradually like the minutes disc, it “jumps” to the next full hour position when it operates. A good thing to note is that the movement can be adjusted both forward and backward in time.

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You may have noticed that the Mr. Jones Watches Ricochet and Ricochet XL watches have the same movement. I somewhat lament this, though I entirely understand why. The real issue it presents is that, despite the larger proportions of the Ricochet XL watch, the display to indicate the time is the same (small) size. Thus, despite the grander dial, reading the time is still a rather petite experience on the face of the Ricochet XL. Why is this the case? Mr. Jones Watches wasn’t able to find an affordable existing mechanical movement with a “digital” jumping hour and wandering minutes display. All the company found was a Chinese movement known as the caliber TY2709. As the same movement needed to be used in the Ricochet XL, the display for the time could not be expanded.

Mr. Jones Watches doesn’t tell you much about the operation of the movement, which is fine because you don’t get a watch like this for horological performance. It probably keeps time to within about 10-20 seconds per day. Mr. Jones Watches actually sums up the status of the movement pretty well when discussing the warranty on its website for this specific watch: “Guarantee 12 months — any problems after, we’re happy to help.” That is essentially a subtle way of saying, “We know these movements aren’t the world’s most reliable, but we want you to feel assured that if something happens to one of them, we will make replacing it free or not a big deal.” You won’t see or experience promises like that from most other watch brands, that is for sure.

Mr. Jones Watches pairs an adjustable-fit mesh metal bracelet with the Ricochet XL watch, similar in style to the bracelet on the original Ricochet. This bracelet won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it does go with the “metal” theme of the composition. Thankfully, the 22mm-wide bracelet ends are mounted with quick-release spring bars, and I have a feeling that fans of this watch will find a litany of interesting straps and bracelets to pair with the characters and colors on the dial.

The Ricochet XL scores high on originality, fun, personality, and attention-getting. It isn’t amazing if you want to know the precise time or have trouble reading small details on dials, but that isn’t what all watch wearers are interested in. Already, this watch has earned enough positive attention on my wrist that I forgive having to squint to see the time. If only I had robot eyes. Price for the Mr. Jones Watches Ricochet XL watch is £ 695. Learn more at the Mr. Jones Watches website.

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